There is always a vast array of shows to choose from at the Vault Festival, and there is no doubt that the charm of the underground venue adds excitement to the experience. Set up like a cinema where each numbered studio hosts three or four short shows per night, there is usually something for every taste.
Bleach is one of the plays currently showing at the festival, but it is not clear who it may be speaking to. A story about sex and violence that neither moves nor shocks, it strives to be authentic but comes across as a predictable tale with nothing profound to add to the long and complex conversation about the psychological effects of prostitution.
A one-man show by Dan Ireland-Reeves featuring predominantly white props and a minimal set, Bleach is the story of Tyler, a young gay man who moves to London to seek his fortune and escape provincial life. He encounters a tougher reality than anticipated and eventually gets tired of working as a waiter in Chinatown, so he tries his luck in nearby Soho and ends up becoming an escort. He soon builds a network of regular clients consisting of lonely, and for the most part rich, men. Each has different needs and Tyler is happy to oblige by dancing, cuddling or playing games. One night, a client sets up an encounter that gets out of control, leaving Tyler shocked and making him question his life choices.
The plot wants to convey the sense of loneliness and isolation that the vortex of a metropolis can throw an individual into, but this concept is only expressed via the main character uttering it in plain words, not through feeling. The protagonist is portrayed as a superficial, vacuous individual who has practically lost all sensitivity and is merely going through the motions. Unfortunately, the play takes on the same features.
Bleach is at the Studio from 6th until 10th February 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Bleach here: